10 Science-Backed Home Remedies for Insomnia

10 Science-Backed Home Remedies for Insomnia


1. Classical Music
A randomized controlled trial done on 94 students looked into how audiobooks and music affected
sleep quality. The results showed that students who listened
to classical music for about 45 minutes experienced a significant improvement in sleep
quality. Additionally, classical music helped alleviate
symptoms of insomnia and depression, while the audiobook
group and control group did not show any signs of improvement. A systematic review of 6 trials suggested
that music may effectively remedy insomnia and improve sleep
quality in adults, but it certainly did not prevent sleep interruptions or lengthen sleep
time. 2. Nardostachys Jatamansi, otherwise known as
spikenard, muskroot, Nardin, or nard, is a flowering
plant belonging to the Valerian family. It is mainly grown in high altitudes in the
eastern region of the Himalayas and has pink-colored flowers. In 2015, a comparative clinical study done
on 34 patients suffering from insomnia showed that a thricedaily dose of 4 grams of spikenard
reduced the time it took the patients to fall asleep by 61 percent and
lengthened sleep time by 48 percent. 3. Lemon Balm
Lemon balm, scientifically known as Melissa officinalis, is a perennial herb widely known
for its antiinflammatory and relaxing properties. In 2010, a pilot trial was published showing
that lemon balm can help alleviate insomnia in 85 percent of individuals
suffering from sleep and anxiety disorders. However, patients who have thyroid problems
are advised against using lemon balm due to the
possibility of it interfering with thyroid activity. Lemon balm contains caffeic acid which impedes
thyroidstimulating hormone. 4. Griffonia Simplicifolia Seed Extract
Griffonia simplicifolia is a small climbing shrub that is indigenous to West and Central
Africa. In African
medicine, it is traditionally used to treat a myriad of diseases. Multiple studies have shown that 5-HTP produced
from the seeds of Griffonia simplicifolia can help
alleviate insomnia. A 6-month study involving 45 children showed
that administering 5-HPT at a daily low dose of 2 mg per
kg body weight during bedtime can prevent night terrors in more than 80 percent of the
children. However, caution is necessary as Griffonia
simplicifolia may cause side effects, such as gastrointestinal
ulcers, stomach cramps, vomiting, and a lower sex drive. 5. Longan Fruit
Dimocarpus longan, otherwise known as longan, is a tropical plant that produces sweet-tasting
fruit. It is
cultivated in many Asian countries, such as India, China, and Sri Lanka. Much like lychee, it is categorized
in the soapberry family. In traditional Chinese medicine, its edible
fruit is used to improve sleep, promote relaxation, relieve
nerve pain, improve digestion, alleviate fever, and even treat snake poison. Numerous animal studies have supported its
ability to improve sleep quality. In stress-induced mice, it
improved sleep. Adenosine, which is present in longan fruit,
also shows anti-anxiety benefits in mice. Adenosine is a naturally-occurring chemical
that induces sleep and one that caffeine hinders, which
explains why longan fruit is perfect to reduce anxiety and induce sleep. Animal studies showed that longan does not
cause any side effects. However, some people may have an
allergic reaction to it. One case was reported of a man with asthma
and mango allergies who experienced hives, swelling, and itching after
eating longan fruit. 6. Passionflower
Insomnia and anxiety are two common issues that can hinder one’s ability to sleep. It is not uncommon
for a patient to have both issues at the same time. This has become quite a challenge for conventional
therapeutic strategies, especially since most medications are not appropriate for prolonged
use. A clinical trial done on 91 individuals showed
that a herbal remedy containing the extract of
passionflower, scientifically known as Passiflora incarnata, improved sleep duration and quality. It was
noted to have similar effects to zolpidem, a standard medication for insomnia. A daily cup of passionflower tea also improved
the sleep disorders of 41 individuals within a week. According to an analysis of multiple cell
studies and clinical trials, passionflower has relaxing effects that
can help induce sleep, and if combined with other relaxing herbs, better results were
noted. Numerous animal trials have proved passion
flower’s ability to promote sleep, and the treated animals
were able to sleep longer and were less irritable. In various clinical trials, passionflower
was deemed safe with no major adverse reactions. However, in
some cases, it might cause nausea, confusion, and dizziness. According to the FDA, it is considered safe
for humans. 7. Selenium
Selenium is a trace mineral that is present in eggs, cereal, fish, poultry, and Brazil
nuts. It is a potent
zeitgeber – an external cue that synchronizes your biological or circadian rhythms to the
Earth’s natural 24-hour dark/light cycles. It balances out your circadian rhythm, which
is often imbalanced in insomniacs. It helps the body distinguish between sleeping
and waking times. In cell studies, methyl selenocysteine, which
is an amino acid that contains sulfur and selenium, can
restore your body’s circadian rhythm genes. This caused the genes’ activity to reach
its peak at night, which is normal. Garlic, onions, broccoli, and astragalus are
abundant in methyl selenocysteine. 8. Valerian
Valeriana officinalis, otherwise known as valerian, is a perennial flowering plant that
is indigenous to Europe and some Asian countries. For centuries, its roots are used for the
treatment of nervousness, tremors, headaches, heart palpitations, and
insomnia. Although the research data is conflicting,
most studies suggest that valerian consumption can decrease
sleep latency by around 15 to 20 minutes and enhance sleep quality. 400 to 900 mg of valerian extract
administered 2 hours before going to bed was most effective. However, you may have to continue taking
it for a few days to 4 weeks before you notice its effects. Studies show that combining valerian extract
with other calming herbs, such as lemon balm and hops,
yielded better results in improving sleep quality. Valerian was even shown to improve the sleep
quality of individuals who stopped taking sleeping pills. In the past, valerian has been associated
in a few cases of liver injury when used with black cohosh,
skullcap, or other botanicals. However, in general, valerian is considered
safe for the liver and rarely causes liver injury. 9. Magnolia Extract and Magnesium
Magnolia officinalis is a species of Magnolia that is cultivated in Southeast Asia. In Chinese medicine, it is
called Houpu and was a traditional treatment for anxiety, depression, gastrointestinal
disorders, nervous disorders, allergies, and asthma. A study on 89 menopausal women showed that
magnolia extract, along with magnesium, can help
reduce sleep disturbances. However, people with clotting or bleeding
conditions are ill-advised against its use. This includes patients
with a hemorrhage, hemophilia, or von Willebrand’s deficiency. 10. Saffron
Za’faran, otherwise known as saffron, is a world-renowned spice made from the petals
of Crocus sativus. It is considered as the Golden Spice because
of its golden color and expensive price. For many centuries,
saffron has been used as a coloring agent and a culinary seasoning. Nowadays, Iran owns 95 percent of
the world’s supply of saffron. In a 6-week double-blind, randomized controlled
trial involving 40 women suffering from postpartum depression, saffron intake improved mild to
moderate depression better than the standard drug Prozac. Additionally, in a double-blind, randomized
controlled trial involving 60 patients, taking saffron
supplements alleviated symptoms of anxiety and bad mood after 12 weeks. In mice studies, saffron also showed anti-anxiety
benefits. One study showed that saffron extract
decreased behaviors of anxiety as shown in an elevated plus maze test and lengthened
sleeping time. This shows that saffron could be an effective
treatment for insomnia and other sleep disorders. Generally, saffron up to a daily dose of 1,500
mg is considered safe. However, very rarely, side effects
were noted, such as dry mouth, headache, nausea, and dizziness.

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